Stephen Colbert Makes a Mind-Blowing Announcement While Guesting on Russian TV

Fans of Stephen Colbert may have noticed his mysterious disappearance this week. His Thursday and Friday broadcasts of Late Night were replaced with repeats without explanation. The scheduling change was peculiar considering all of the current events that would be ripe for Colbert’s brand of satire. But now it can be told where he was and what he was doing.

Stephen Colbert

A video of Colbert has surfaced (posted below) revealing that he was in Russia. He was making a guest appearance on “Evening Urgant,” a Russian talk show similar to the one Colbert hosts. Ivan Urgant interviewed Colbert and joined him in a round of vodka shots. Colbert graciously toasted his hosts saying:

“To the beautiful and friendly Russian people. I don’t understand why no members of the Trump administration can remember meeting you.”

That toast obviously went out to folks like Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions, and Jared Kushner, who all seemed to have trouble recalling the meetings they had with Russian operatives. Colbert was surprised that they would forget such lovely people. Of course, most Americans would have no problem remembering having met with agents of a hostile foreign nation. For some reason, Donald Trump’s associates have no problem forgetting. Repeatedly.

During the course of the interview, Colbert interrupted Urgant and asked if he could make an announcement. His host courteously consented. So Colbert turned to the camera and, with a dead serious expression, said:

“I am here to announce that I am considering a run for president in 2020. And I thought it would be better to cut out the middle man and just tell the Russians myself. If anyone would like to work on my campaign, in an unofficial capacity, please just let me know.”

Colbert demonstrated his deft political sophistication by not bothering to wait until Russian spies captured and leaked this information. Why not just tell them personally? Although, for all we know Trump did the very same thing. With all of the contacts between Russians and his top advisers, they might have been working together to sink Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The only difference is that they collaborated in secret and lied about, while Colbert did it on live TV.

Urgant was happy to receive Colbert’s news. And he subtly noted that the Russian political machine that aided Trump would be at his disposal when the campaign began:

“It’s a pleasure to drink with the future U.S. President. To you, Stephen. I wish you luck. We will do everything we can so you become president.”

So there you have it. The fix is in. In three short years the United States may inaugurate its first Comedic-American president. The crass ceiling will be broken. Given the historically low approval ratings for Trump, Colbert’s ascendancy to the White House can only be an improvement. After all, his approval ratings, as measured by the Nielsen Company, place him at number one.

It’s too soon to know just when the next opening for a new president will occur. Trump is facing imminent peril for impeachment and prosecution for obstruction of justice and financial misconduct. But at the very latest, the next presidential election cycle for 2020 just might result in the inauguration of President Stephen Colbert. I can hardly wait.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

FFS: Trump Seeks Cyber Security Alliance with Russia, the Country That Hacked Our Election

Just when you thought Donald Trump couldn’t dig himself further up Putin’s anus, he pulls out an even bigger jackhammer. The President appears oblivious to the fact that he is under investigation for colluding with Russia during the 2016 election. Many of his close associates have been caught with Russian agents in meetings they tried to cover up. Seventeen independent American intelligence agencies concluded that Russia engaged in extensive operations to hack our election to Trump’s benefit.

Trump/Putin

Nevertheless, it has now been learned that Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is proposing a confounding alliance. Tillerson had numerous encounters with Russian government and businesses in his previous position as CEO of Exxon. But this new hook up is hard to believe. According to Newsweek, Tillerson is seeking to partner with Russia on projects “aimed at cybersecurity and cyberespionage.” Newsweek notes that this…

“…seems particularly odd given not only the investigations surrounding President Donald Trump and his former campaign but also the conclusion reached by the U.S. intelligence community that Russia intentionally meddled in last year’s election in order to ascend Trump’s candidacy. [and that] Complicating the matter is Trump’s consistent refusal to declare Russia had meddled in the election and reluctance to say anything negative about Putin or his government.”

Set aside for the moment the absurdity of favoring Russia with such a privileged relationship after their activities last year. Any program that joins the United States and Russia in efforts to combat cyber attacks is wrought with obvious peril. The intelligence sharing would give the Russians access to confidential information that could aid them in future attacks on the U.S. They would undoubtedly be pleased to learn what areas the Americans regard as vulnerable. This would include risks far beyond election tampering. Cyber attacks can also be launched against infrastructure, power grids, commerce, and even military operations.

Additionally, this sort of coalition would make American technology available to our new partners. Procedures aimed at investigating digital intrusions would have to be shared. Likewise, methods of correcting and securing systems that have been compromised would become common knowledge. And that knowledge would be invaluable in plotting new attacks.

These ham-handed efforts to engage with a hostile adversary make no sense at all. Even strictly with regard to appearances, it is utterly unjustifiable. Russia, based on its unacknowledged and unremorseful activities, surely doesn’t deserve this special treatment. If anything, they should be subject to further sanctions and explicitly excluded from cooperation on technology matters.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The fact that Trump’s State Department is openly seeking to reward Russia, despite their bad behavior, suggests something ominous. Could it be a payoff for some past or future benefit for Trump? Does Putin have something on the President that he would release without accommodations like this? Are these questions too conspiratorial? Perhaps they are. But what possible incentive would Trump have for endangering the nation by sharing sensitive technology and cyber security plans with an enemy and international cyber criminal? At the very least, these are questions the media should asking.

Comey Slams Trump’s Media Bashing About Russia: ‘As Unfake As You Can Possibly Get’

Throughout Donald Trump’s campaign for president, and his subsequent residence in the White House, he has displayed a visceral hatred for the media. Virtually any story that was the least bit critical was branded as “fake news.”

Comey Trump

Trump is especially sensitive to allegations stemming from his unsavory connections to Russia. The linkages between himself, his family, and his associates are plentiful and disturbing. And despite the confirmation of numerous meetings and investigations, Trump stubbornly denies any relationship. His belligerent denials are a rejection of reality and often attempt to shift blame elsewhere. For instance:

Thursday’s Senate hearing with James Comey briefly, but significantly, touched on this issue. The former FBI Director was asked specifically about Trump’s characterization of the Russian interference in the election. His answer was an unequivocal repudiation of Trump’s anti-media position:

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM): The President has repeatedly talked about Russia’s involvement in the U.S. election cycle as a “hoax” and as “fake news.” Can you talk a little bit about what you saw as FBI Director that demonstrates how serious this action actually was, and why there was an investigation in the first place?

James Comey: There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever. The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle. And they did it with purpose. They did it with sophistication. They did it with overwhelming technical efforts. And it was an active measures campaign driven from the top of that government. There is no fuzz on that. It is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community. And the members of this committee have seen the intelligence. It’s not a close call. That happened. That’s about as unfake as you can possibly get.

What Comey is referring to is the overwhelming agreement that Russia actively interfered with the election. Seventeen separate intelligence agencies, from the State Department to the Pentagon, all independently affirm that. In fact, the only official resistance comes from the White House itself.

Having no credible argument to refute the consensus about Russia’s activities, Trump resorts to smearing the media. It’s a weak line of attack based entirely on his personal animus and driven by desperation and fear. But it’s also dangerous. Trump is purposefully denigrating an institution that is vital to the stability of a healthy democracy. He is attacking the very nature of the free press. And it is his intention to undermine the public’s confidence in all news providers. That is among the reasons that advocates for journalists branded Trump as “an ‘unprecedented threat’ to press freedom.”

Comey’s testimony reiterates what many have said before him. And it is a potent indictment of Trump’s irresponsible and reckless media bashing. And yet, the predictable result of his remarks will be an escalation by Trump of his assaults on the press. Hopefully the press will have the courage to defend their own honor and not let Trump get away with his self-serving campaign to destroy ethical journalism.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

They’re BAAAACK: Fox News Phony ‘Security Moms’ Suck Up to Trump While Denying Reality

Fox News (aka Donald Trump’s State-Run Propaganda Network) is at it again. The Trump-fluffing cable “news” distortion outfit is running interference on behalf of the treasonous White House mole they planted in the Oval Office. As the evidence of Trump’s collusion with Russian operatives mounts, Fox News ramps up their pitifully sycophantic defense squads.

Fox News

The falsehood factory at Fox has reassembled what they call their panel of “Security Moms.” In reality they are four pre-selected pro-Trump mouthpieces who shamelessly defend the President’s most heinous behavior. Last March they were brought in to try to hold back the flood of bad news regarding Trump and Russia. They failed so spectacularly that Fox brought them back Tuesday for an encore (video below).

In the latest episode of Security Moms, host Ainsley Earhardt dived straight into the controversy with a pointedly leading question:

“Well, the Democrats can’t stop talking about Russia, but is this really the issue that American families care most about? […] Do you care about Russia, and if not — I know you’re gonna say no.”

So Earhardt interrupted her own question to admit that she already knew the answers her mom panel would give. And the question itself was dripping with bias. Democrats aren’t the only ones talking about Russia. And polls show that significant majorities of voters care very much about the issue. Even the most recent Fox News poll. But that didn’t stop the moms from spinning furiously, just as they were recruited to do. For example:

Security Mom 1: All Americans care about foreign bodies hacking into our systems or tampering with our elections, but none of us think that that’s happened in this case.
Security Mom 2: And after seven months we still have no credible evidence, so I think it’s time to move on. What we’re experiencing is that it’s too much and unbalanced. […] Instead of Democrats, and most in the mainstream media, acting like adults and coming to the table with real solutions, they’re behaving like crazed animals.
Security Mom 3: This narrative the mainstream media is talking about – mentioning our President of the United States – it just needs to stop.
Security Mom 4: A lot of it, I really think, has to do with with left over election bad feelings. And this is kind of the catalyst going forward.

So these ladies are entirely oblivious to the mountains of evidence connecting Trump and his associates to Russian operatives. They believe that all of it should be ignored and the country should move on blissfully unaware of potential traitors in the White House. After all, they’re convinced that it’s just the ravings of crazed Democrats as they plead “it just needs to stop.”

Security Mom 3 also made an astonishingly incoherent and unrelated claim. She asserted that Fox News was the only station that had continuing coverage of the Manchester terrorist attack. To which Earhardt mustered her most sincere Stepford attitude to reply “We were. You’re right about that.” This is a demonstration of something far worse than bias. It’s delusional. But it’s totally aligned to the themes that Fox News dispenses every day. Their perverse world view was summed up nicely in this comment that combines diversion with Fox’s taste for victimization:

Security Mom 1: Most Americans believe that this is the typical left reaction. They lost the election. They’re a bunch of big babies. They’re crying about it. And now this is a big distraction. “We lost the election, but now we’re gonna distract you with this Russian collusion nonsense. And on top of that we’re gonna try to take Trump down by all means necessary, somewhat, probably, illegal.

Oh the horror. Our President is being attacked by factual evidence of his own criminality. And the most powerful man on Earth is defenseless against the “big babies” of the left. The enraged mom never bothered to say what illegal means were being employed to take Trump down. But then, why would she? If Fox’s viewers were interested in facts they would be clamoring for impeachment hearings like the rest of the country.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Uh-Oh: Rachel Maddow is Under Attack by Sean Hannity and Right-Wing Propaganda Groups

The conservative media machine is marshaling its forces to launch an all-out assault on journalists and pundits who fail to kowtow to Donald Trump. It’s a reactionary campaign in response to the success of the honest reporting by Rachel Maddow and other progressive voices. In recent weeks, Maddow has taken the lead in primetime programs from the previous ratings chart topper, Fox News. The rest of the MSNBC lineup has seen a similar surge in popularity. This massive shift in dominance is mainly driven by the strength of their straightforward reporting about Trump and Russia.

Maddow Hannity

Consequently, those on the right have begun shaking in their boots as their hammer lock on the ratings is broken. The last year has been dreadful for Fox News. Their CEO, Roger Ailes, and top star, Bill O’Reilly, were both terminated in disgrace due to sexual harassment scandals. They are being sued for gender and racial discrimination. And the New York Attorney General is investigating the network for securities violations.

The latest Fox News host to suffer as a result of his own sleazy misconduct is Sean Hannity. He has been pushing a widely debunked conspiracy theory about Seth Rich, a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer. Despite the absence of any facts, and pleas from the family to back off, Hannity has persisted. Even Fox News took down their report on the subject.

The determination of Hannity to spread this phony story has prompted Media Matters to post a list of his advertisers. The purpose was not to start a consumer boycott, but to alert the advertisers to what sort of program they were sponsoring. Then they could decide if it was in their best interest to continue.

Apparently, the desperate losers on the right were not pleased. So they have initiated their own campaign against Maddow and others whom they now refer to as “liberal fascists.” According to Politico:

“The groups plan to pressure advertisers for left-leaning shows like Maddow’s on MSNBC, in hopes that the sponsors will pull their ads. They charge that Maddow and other liberal hosts are peddling conspiracy theories and smearing conservatives with personal attacks.”

“They cited reports of alleged coordination between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian agents as an example of the smears.”

Notice what they’ve chosen as their example of a conspiracy theory. It’s a fact-based report that is affirmed by seventeen U.S. government intelligence agencies. No independent observer disputes that the Russians interfered with the 2016 presidential election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. And the allegations of collusion are based on numerous reports connecting Trump and his associates with Russian operatives. Many of those connections were hidden by the participants until disclosed by persistent reporters.

The groups involved in the attack on Maddow et al are well known in the conservative hack community. The Media Research Center has a long history of smearing liberals in the press. They favor common right-wing talking points and exploiting lefty “villains” like George Soros. The Media Equality Project is a new entity headed by two former conservative radio talkers, Melanie Morgan and Brain Maloney. They both appeared on Hannity’s program Tuesday night to defend his campaign of slander and promote their anti-Maddow efforts. [Video below]

So far there is no discernible impact from the wingnut brigades. That may be because Maddow’s reporting is wrapped up tighter in facts than anything produced by Hannity and his ilk. The Media Equalizer’s told Hannity last night that they are getting millions of people supporting them. However, their Facebook page has fewer than 5,000 followers and they have even less on Twitter.

But let’s not get cocky. Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and Lawrence O’Donnell need the continued support of Americans who appreciate honest news analysis. MSNBC still hasn’t signed a contract renewal for O’Donnell. Meanwhile they have hired or promoted the likes of Greta Van Susteren, Hugh Hewitt, and George Will.

The right has a built in advantage with the media because every media owner is a giant corporation whose interests are not aligned with the average American. We have to make sure they know that their financial well being is dependent on serving the public interest. In the meantime, it’s satisfying to see Hannity and his trolls floundering as they try to muddy the waters with their self-serving lies. But we can only expect that to make them more aggressive and repulsive. Stay tuned and stay strong.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Urgent (and hilarious) Update: Hannity is now so desperate that he’s threatening to go after Stephen Colbert. And that’s something Colbert — would absolutely LOVE.

Deputy Attorney General Suddenly Names Special Counsel In Trump-Russia Scandal

The drama surrounding Donald Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia just a took a significant turn. According to NBC News (video below), Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein just appointed a Special Counsel to oversee the Trump/Russia investigation. Rosenstein has named former FBI director Robert Mueller, a George W. Bush appointee who also served under Obama, to the role.

Robert Mueller Special Counsel Trump

This development comes shortly after Rosenstein had said there wasn’t a need for such a counsel. But that was before the recent revelations that Trump had disclosed classified information to Russian officials. Also, recently revealed were former FBI Director James Comey’s notes that told of Trump’s attempts to get him to end the inquiry of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The notice from Rosenstein says that:

“In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.” […]

“Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result.”

ABC News reports that:

“Mueller will have 60 days to put together a budget for resources to conduct the investigation and that budget must be approved by Rosenstein. Attorney General Jeff Sessions previously recused himself from all matters related to the presidential campaign. […]

“As special counsel, Mueller can be expected to have the full powers and independent authority to exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions of any United States attorney. These powers include the ability to take matters before a grand jury, issue subpoenas and assign federal agents to the case.”

It’s too soon to assess whether this investigation will be a comprehensive one that holds all involved parties accountable. But it’s a good sign that it is being taken out of the hands of compromised people in the Justice Department. This is a breaking story and more will be reported as it becomes known.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

DAMAGE CONTROL? Putin Offers Transcript of Trump’s Meeting with Russians to Rescue His Puppet

With each passing day the precarious status of Donald Trump’s presidency becomes ever more wobbly. The latest controversy involves disquieting allegations that Trump disclosed top secret intelligence information to Russian officials visiting the White House. Since this story first broke, the President and his shills have offered varying responses. They began with outright denials. Then, undercutting his own staff, Trump tweeted that it was true, but legal. The record to date is one of diversion and obfuscation.

Putin Voted

Enter Vladimir Putin. The man credited with putting Trump in the White House has come to the rescue of his most valuable asset. Speaking at a news conference in Sochi, Putin criticized the turmoil surrounding Trump. He asserted that “[T]he United States has been developing political schizophrenia.” It’s hard to argue with that. However, Putin’s solution to the problem only exacerbates it. Talking Points Memo is reporting that:

“Russia President Vladimir Putin offered Wednesday to turn over to Congress records of President Donald Trump’s discussions with Russian diplomats in which Trump is said to have disclosed classified information. His offer added a bizarre twist to the furor over Trump’s intelligence disclosures. […] Putin told a news conference that he would be willing to turn over notes of Trump’s meeting with the Russian diplomats if the White House agreed.”

“Bizarre” only begins to describe this. First of all. it’s significant that Putin has a record of the White House encounter that he’s willing to make public (if the White House agrees). Particularly because the President has made no such claim or offer. In fact, only Russia’s press were permitted into the meeting. The U.S. media was explicitly excluded. Furthermore, what makes Putin (or anyone) think that his transcript would be considered a credible account of what occurred? He has an obvious vested interest in concealing any transfer of intelligence data he acquires from Trump. His own spy network would benefit from the data more if his foes in Israel, Syria, and elsewhere were in the dark.

Putin’s offer can serve as much more than a life preserver for the floundering American president. It can also be exploited by conservative media to protect Trump from further criticism. That would fit with Russia’s known efforts to plant stories in the press that advance their foreign policy goals. Russia has been determined to be the source of thousands of self-serving fake news articles. This could just be the latest part of that ongoing propaganda effort.

From press reports it’s unclear exactly what sort of documentation Putin has. According to NPR he used the Russian word “zapis” which can be translated as either a written record or a recording. That opens speculation as to whether the Russian diplomats brought surveillance equipment into the Oval Office. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell had an opportunity to address that with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Wednesday morning. His response was somewhat unnerving:

Really? How hard would it be to sweep the Oval Office for listening devices? And shouldn’t he be a little worried about the prospect that Russia could bug the White House and he wouldn’t know? This is just further evidence that Team Trump is dangerously inexperienced and incompetent. And that’s the best case scenario. The worst case is that Trump isn’t worried about Russian listening devices because he is the listening device. If he’s telling our secrets to the Russians himself, then why would would they need to plant a bug?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

LMFAO: Fox News Must Wish They Waited Before Lauding Trump for Not Tweeting About Russia Leak

True to form, Donald Trump took to Twitter after the Washington Post revealed his reckless disclosure of classified information to Russian officials. This occurred at a White House meeting with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The fallout from the story has driven new demands for independent investigations of Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. Trump’s tweets were typically self-serving and lacking relevant detail and substance:

Donald Trump

These tweets also contradicted previous responses from the White House dismissing WaPo’s story. First the administration claimed the story was false. Now Trump himself has abandoned that tack. He’s admitting that he divulged information, possibly classified, but that he’s allowed to do so. But even that is a transparent dodge. The problem here isn’t whether the President is acting legally with regard to classification status. It’s whether he’s acting prudently with regard to national security. Divulging information that could advantage hostile foreign nations (i.e. Russia), and alienate allies, could violate other laws.

Following the story’s publication, Fox News went into Emergency Trump Defense Mode. The memo must have gone out to demean the Post and the contents of its story. Because everyone on Fox had the same message. They disputed the Post’s reporting and absolved Trump of any wrongdoing. But the pinnacle of flagrant Trump fluffing occurred, as usual, on Fox and Friends.

The “Curvy Couch” potatoes ridiculed any notion that Trump had misspoken as mere hyperbole from the hysterically anti-Trump media. They began with a video from Tucker Carlson’s show wherein he complained that Trump’s critics “regard him as the single greatest threat to Western civilization since atomic weapons.” And then co-host Brian Kilmeade let this nonsense loose:

“The also thing to keep in mind too is, Donald Trump didn’t tweet out last night. I thought that shows an additional discipline. Let’s listen, let my guys handle it and Dina Powell handle it. They were there, they can walk it back.”

As we already know, Trump did tweet about this. And it was only about an hour after Kilmeade lavished praise on him for not doing so. If Kilmeade thought Trump’s Twitter silence was evidence of his discipline, what does he think now? Will he correct the record on Wednesday’s program? Will he concede that Trump is lacking discipline? Even Carlson said it was fair to consider Trump “undisciplined and impulsive” before returning to his robotic exaltation.

This is the problem that all Trump defenders have to face. Even after they come to his aid, he is likely to shift gears in a way that makes them look like fools. That’s always a risk of doing business with Trump. He is so erratic and focused solely on his own welfare that you stand to get run over by a fleet of buses. And if you pivot to avoid it, you’ll just get hit again when he shifts into reverse. So good luck, suckers.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

HOLY SH*T: Trump Leaked ‘Highly Classified Information’ to Russians During Oval Office Meeting

The negligence and incompetence of America’s Reality TV show president is having serious consequences in the realm of national security. The Washington Post is reporting that Donald Trump revealed “highly classified information” during a meeting last week with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in the White House. The Post writes that:

“Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State. The information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.”

Putin got his man:
Trump Putin

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were invited to the White by Trump the day after he fired FBI Director James Comey. That’s something his Russian guests must have appreciated as it would derail the investigation into their interference with the 2016 presidential election. But what Trump disclosed during the meeting could have far reaching consequences.

According to sources familiar with the meeting, Trump was boasting that “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day.” As if to prove it he told them about a threat that the United States could only have learned through a key espionage partner. In the course of his bragging Trump revealed “the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.” This is information so sensitive that the Post is “withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.”

Even if Trump held back on some specifics, the exchange was still dangerous because Russia would be able figure out our sources or techniques just with what Trump told them. And betraying the confidence of our partner would likely cause them to refrain from sharing information with us in the future.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The Post noted that “Senior White House officials appeared to recognize quickly that Trump had overstepped and moved to contain the potential fallout.” But significant damage was already certainly done. The disclosure of this sort of data to a hostile foreign country’s top officials is something that was predictable in the election of a novice like Trump. And now he’s proving that our greatest fears about him are coming to pass.

The Lawyers Trump Used to Clear Him of Russian Ties Were the ‘Russian Law Firm of 2016’

File in the “You Can’t Make This Shit Up” file. Friday morning Donald Trump released a letter from his attorneys that purported to absolve him of any conflicts of interest stemming from dealings with Russia. The letter stated that the lawyers had reviewed ten years of Trump’s tax returns and affirm that he has had no income from Russian sources “with a few exceptions.”

Trump/Putin

Another way of saying that is that Trump did have some income from Russian sources. However, the larger problem with this letter is that there is no way to confirm any of its claims. What’s more, the way that Trump plays with the truth, they could be saying that he has not received any income personally from Russia, but his businesses might still have extensive financial ties.

But what makes this self-serving dispatch all the more peculiar is that the law firm representing Trump in this matter, Morgan, Lewis, has deep ties to Russia itself. ABC News reports that:

“In 2016, however, Chambers & Partners, a London-based legal research publication, named the firm ‘Russia Law Firm of the Year’ at its annual awards dinner. The firm celebrated the ‘prestigious honor’ in a press release on its website, noting that the award is ‘the latest honor for the high-profile work performed by the lawyers in Morgan Lewis’ Moscow office.'”

Needless to say, the optics of this are atrocious. Couldn’t Trump have found a purely American law firm to attest to his patriotic business dealings? Does everyone with whom he associates have hidden connections to Russia? Is Vladimir Putin handling his PR?

The honor bestowed upon this law firm may not be particularly significant. They have an office in Moscow and do considerable business there. And the award is from a private entity, not the Russian government. So it may all be an innocent coincidence. But there have been an awful lot of those erupting around Trump & Co. Plus, the law firm’s website makes note of their specialties. Some of them seem especially well-suited to Trump’s organization, including real estate property transactions:

“Our Moscow office includes more than 40 lawyers and staff who have been working together for many years. Our lawyers are well known in the Russian market, and have deep familiarity with the local legislation, practices, and key players.” […]

“We are particularly adept at advising our clients about compliance and sanction matters.”

Well, that’s not suspicious at all, is it? For Trump to send this firm out to sweep away any unsavory speculation was astonishingly inept, at best. At worst it is evidence of his steel-trap embrace of all things Russian. And it makes it all the more imperative that he release all of his tax returns for himself and his businesses. Without access to that information all the American people have is the word of a severely compromised and untrustworthy charlatan.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.